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A Pausable Moment in Oklahoma

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Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ. Remember, it is better to suffer for doing good, if that is what God wants, than to suffer for doing wrong! Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit. -- 1Peter 3: 15-18 (NLT)

This world is dying. It is passing away day by day. We hear the groans of the planet but we explain them away as random. We soften the truth by blaming a fictitious "mother nature." Even worse, the world refers to disasters such as the Oklahoma tornado as an "act of God." Over 50 people reported as dead already with many more expected as towns start to dig out from the rubble brought on by a tornado that measured two miles wide. The calls for prayer and humanitarian aid have been made and pray and give we must as believers. But this is also a pausable moment. That is, a moment when people might pause long enough to consider their own mortality. A time when the singing and dancing as in the days of Noah momentarily ceases. A time to teach again about God and about heaven and hell. A time to teach again about sin and repentance. A time to lead people to the cross of Calvary.

God led me to the key verses today because of the portion that tells us to be ready to explain our Christian hope. A very well known verse; I also included the surrounding context because it all applies to what God is saying to us as the church today, in light of the Oklahoma tragedy. The first message for us today is that we must worship Christ as Lord of our lives. Sounds simple enough but the reality is that a great portion of the new church does not celebrate Jesus as Lord anymore. It is not preached because it is not deemed "seeker friendly." It is not deemed seeker friendly because who wants to hear that we have to give ourselves over to God? Who wants to hear that He is sovereign in our lives? Who wants to hear that they must become slaves?

When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the obligation to do right. And what was the result? You are now ashamed of the things you used to do, things that end in eternal doom. But now you are free from the power of sin and have become slaves of God. Now you do those things that lead to holiness and result in eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. -- Romans 6: 20-23 (NLT)

Of course what people do not realize is they already are a slave -- a slave to sin. What they do not realize is that if they were to die in that sin that there would be serious eternal repercussions. Hell is not a fairy tale beloved. I know that it is not preached about anymore but denial will not remove the reality of hell. Whatever needs someone in the world might have they all pale in comparison and are secondary to their separation from God. Because as the tornado yesterday showed us again -- this life is but a glimmer. It is a vapor that is here today and gone before we can blink. But what happens after is of eternal value. Why must we worship Christ as Lord? Because if we are not then we ourselves are not saved.


If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. -- Romans 10: 9 (NLT)


New age Christians may cringe but Scripture is Scripture. It does not say that if you confess Christ as your friend you will be saved. Jesus as your buddy won't cut it. God is not in the advisement business beloved. He is in the sovereign rule business. We cannot possibly minister correctly if we ourselves are not saved. It is the 800 pound gorilla in the church no one likes to talk about but false conversions are a reality. Leonard Ravenhill once said that the sinner's prayer has sent more people to hell than all the bars in America. There is nothing more dangerous than a church that is not spirit led, filled with goats acting like sheep -- trying to convince others to join their club and promising heaven for the price of membership. Realize, sincerity is irrelevant before God.


"Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light. But when your eye is bad, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is! -- Matthew 6: 22-23 (NLT)


When we convince ourselves that our darkness is actually light -- wow is that a dangerous place to be. Jesus Christ must be Lord of our lives before we can do anything else. Secondly from the key verses is the popular portion which teaches us that we must be prepared to explain our Christian hope. Note however that we are not compelled to explain our theology. We are not being asked to explain why we are right. Witnessing is not a time for scholarly exposition of Scripture. Why - because it is all still foolishness to them that are perishing:


When we tell you these things, we do not use words that come from human wisdom. Instead, we speak words given to us by the Spirit, using the Spirit's words to explain spiritual truths. But people who aren't spiritual can't receive these truths from God's Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can't understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means. Those who are spiritual can evaluate all things, but they themselves cannot be evaluated by others. -- 1Corinthians 2: 13-15 (NLT)

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